For years, Gussie Nease helped put together parades in Rincon. Saturday morning, she will ride at the front of one.
Nease, the longtime community supporter, will be the grand marshal for the Rincon Lions Club’s annual Christmas parade. The parade gets under way Saturday at 10 a.m.
“I was really shocked and very honored to be named grand marshal,” Nease said. “My grandchildren are just thrilled.”
Nease worked for many years on the city’s July 4th parade and chaired the parade committee for several years. The Effingham County native has lived most of her life in Rincon since she was 12.
She has two daughters and four grandchildren, and Nease was worried she might not even been in Rincon for the parade this year. She has a Thanksgiving trip planned.
“They called me and asked me would I do it,” she said of her grand marshal duties. “I had to make sure I was going to be here.”
Nease even has dressed up as Mrs. Santa for the parade.
A former Rincon City Council member, Nease also has worked with the Effingham County Victim Witness Assistance Program and the United Way of Effingham County. Nease also has been a member of the Effingham Hospital Authority.
In recent years, Nease, a licensed realtor and appraiser by trade, has been involved heavily with the Mars Theatre restoration efforts.
“It’s not so much what it has meant to me,” she said of her varied and many community activities, “but my goal is to leave Effingham County a better place. There was a time when we didn’t have streets named, but two women got them named.
“I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to leave it a little better. I’ve tried to make a difference for my children’s future and for my grandchildren’s future and for Effingham to be a place where people want to come. It’s rewarding to see some things come to fruition. My life has been quite a ride.”
Though she has spent most of her life living and working in Rincon, Nease has been a part of the Springfield Revitalization Corporation and the efforts to restore the Mars Theatre. The SRC bought the Mars in 2007 and transferred it to the city of Springfield in 2009 under a long-term lease.
The Mars re-opened earlier this year.
Nease’s next mission is to build a playground for children with developmental challenges.
“I don’t know where I’ll get the $350,000 to do it,” she said, “but it will happen. To quote my friend Ruth Lee, ‘If you live long enough, most anything can happen to you.’”
Rincon Christmas Parade
• When: Nov. 22, 10 a.m.
• Where: Lineup begins at Macomber Park and follows the parade’s traditional route
• Entry forms: Available at city halls in Guyton, Rincon and Springfield.